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Brisbane Showgrounds to host cricket, AFL while Gabba revamped

Brisbane Showgrounds will be redeveloped to host AFL and cricket as the Gabba undergoes a 2032 Olympics revamp — but the state government will stump up only a third of the cost.

Brisbane City Council, the RNA, and the two sporting codes will be asked to pay the rest of the expected $137 million bill for the 20,000-seat stadium.

The government will pay $47.5 million of the total $137 million cost.

Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said this relocation was the most “cost effective” and “responsible” solution during the Gabba’s multi-billion dollar development, and it was up to the council to “step up and contribute”.

The project is expected to cost $137 million, with the state govenment paying a third. (Supplied)

The stadium will be scaled back to nearly half that number of seats, to a 12,000-seat bowl, after the Olympics.

Asked about mayor Adrian Schrinner’s claim he had been blindsided by today’s announcement, Mr Hinchliffe said Mr Schrinner “refused” to take his phone call about it on Thursday.

The council is being asked to pay $30 million for the revamp.

‘Deliver on ambitions’

Mr Hinchliffe said it was “the role of the city to deliver”.

“The Lord Mayor of Brisbane made it very clear that he thought this was the right solution. He thinks this is the right thing for Brisbane,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“But when it’s come to actually putting forward some commitment to that something delivers for our 2032 [Olympics], and our city’s ambitions and our region’s ambitions for years to come, he’s left pretending like he’s got no capacity to make a difference.”

But Mr Schrinner said he was “taken by surprise” by the move, and it was the state’s responsibility to find a new home for the Brisbane Lions and Brisbane Heat.

The RNA said it had offered $15 million to the rebuild.

“This major upgrade to existing facilities plans to deliver a modern 20,000-seat fully accessible venue through the restoration of the heritage grandstands, plus a contemporary replacement of Machinery Hill,” chief executive Brendan Christou said.

“The RNA believes this upgrade will provide major benefits for the entire community from rural, regional and remote Queensland to metropolitan areas, providing a great legacy for future generations to come.”

The Ekka would carry on through the construction, with the stadium to be built by the start of the 2026 AFL season.

The Gabba redevelopment has proved a lightning rod for the state government, with questions over cost, and whether it was needed for the city to host the Olympics, as well as protests about the plan to move East Brisbane State School.




Author: Russell White